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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Andhra on its knees as floods wreak havoc; toll climbs to 31, road, rail traffic hit

Andhra floods: Traffic was either closed or suspended in arterial highways and over 100 trains cancelled snapping rail-road link between southern and other parts of the country as the Penna river in spate caused heavy destruction on Sunday.

By: Express Web Desk | Hyderabad |
Updated: November 21, 2021 10:16:54 pm
Residents wade through a flood-affected area in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. (PTI Photo)

Andhra Pradesh on Sunday continued to reel under the aftermath of heavy rains and flash floods that wreaked havoc on the state, killing a total of 31 people.

Hundreds of vehicles and passengers were stranded after the main rail and road routes in the state, connecting southern, eastern and northern parts of the country, remained cut off as the Penna river in spate caused heavy destruction, news agency PTI reported.

A Naval helicopter being used to conduct rescue and relief operatons in the flood-affectred areas of Kadapa district in Andhra Pradesh. (PTI Photo)

As floods caused devastation, the Chennai-Kolkata National Highway-16 had to be closed down for traffic in SPS Nellore district following heavy breaches at Padugupadu and Kovuru. The traffic between Nellore and Vijayawada has been suspended, leaving hundreds of vehicles stranded for kilometers on either side. The Chennai grand trunk rail route also remained cut off for traffic.

More than 100 express trains were cancelled after the rail track at Padugupadu near Nellore was damaged in the deluge. 29 more trains were diverted via other routes, the South Central Railway informed.

Heavy downpour has left several rivers, canals and water bodies in Chittoor and Nellore districts overflowing. | Photo: CMO Andhra Pradesh

The flash floods due to a breach of the Annamayya project’s earthen bund on Cheyyeru river wreaked havoc in Kadapa district. Annamayya is a medium irrigation project with a gross capacity of only 2.24 tmc ft on Cheyyeru, a tributary of Penna river, in Rajampet constituency.

Togurupeta, Mandapalli, Pulapathur and Gundlur villages were the most affected with at least 18 people caught in the watery grave and many others missing.

A three-storied building in Kadapa city folded like a pack of cards in the wee hours. A mother and child, who were trapped on the second floor, were rescued by police and fire services personnel just in time.

The floodwater gushing out from the Veligallu reservoir led to the collapse of a bridge on river Papagni, cutting off road link between Kadapa and Anantapuramu districts.

Hundreds of passengers were stuck in the Nellore RTC bus station as bus services were disrupted. Vehicular traffic coming from Srikalahasti has been stopped at Tottembedu check post and diverted via Pamuru and Darsi, officials said.

The State Disaster Management Authority said more than two lakh cusecs of floodwater flowed out of the Somasila reservoir in SPS Nellore district, leading to the deluge.

A view of a flooded area in Nellore, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. More than a dozen people have died and dozens are reported missing in Andhra Pradesh after days of heavy rains, authorities said. (AP Photo)

The Pincha project upstream breached, letting out all floodwater into Annamayya while water from Seshachalam too came gushing in because of very heavy rainfall, resulting in an overall discharge of over two lakh cusecs. That pushed Cheyyeru river into spate, inundating at least 10 villages downstream in Rajampet and Nandaluru mandals, and leaving widespread destruction in its wake.

Meanwhile, villagers alleged that gross mismanagement on by the administration led to the catastrophe. They further said that the administration didn’t warn the public of the danger, adding that there was no help from their part.

People wade through a flooded street in Nellore, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. More than a dozen people have died and dozens are reported missing in Andhra Pradesh after days of heavy rains, authorities said. (AP Photo)

In Mandapalli village, two families were completely wiped out as seven people in all were killed in the flood fury. Another family lost two persons.

“The river course changed but the dam breach was what caused the real destruction. We still moved some 600 people to safety. It was a major calamity, the scale of which could not be imagined,” Kadapa district Collector Vijaya Rama Raju was quoted as saying by PTI.

(With inputs from PTI)

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